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Adrenal Supps Vs Hydrocortisone (HC)

Can anybody clarify this? I read that adrenal supplements feed the adrenals whereas HC actually swithces them off and gives the adrenals a rest. When the body rests it can go into a state of repair and recovery. Therefore I would think that HC would improve the health of adrenals at a faster rate. I don't fully understand the mechanics behind adrenal supps other than cortex doesn't contain adrenaline.

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No, it doesn't switch the adrenals off, that would be a terrible thing to do, because they won't switch back on again.

Taking HC in the early morning, the busiest time for adrenals, just gives them a helping hand. Very often, when they are fatigued, they cannot make enough cortisol in the morning to get you up and out of bed. But, they keep on trying, all through the day, so that they finally end up producing too much at bedtime, when your really don't want it, and it stops you sleeping.

Giving them a helping hand first thing in the morning, and before lunch, means that they don't have to struggle so hard to produce cortisol for the rest of the day. But, you should never take it after 1 pm. If you dose throughout the day, they will switch off, and you'll be on HC for the rest of your life. Dosing throughout the day, to mimic the production pattern of the adrenals, is for Addison's sufferers, whose adrenals can't make any cortisol.

However, HC is not something to be taken lightly. It can have side-effects, the main one being water retention - it can make you swell up like a balloon. So, if your adrenal fatigue isn't drastic, feeding the adrenals is a much better option. I don't know which adrenal supplements you are referring to, but I would be very wary of multis. Far better to take your supplements individually. Adrenals need lots of vit C, and adequate B vitamins and salt. It's also a good idea to eat a protein-rich breakfast as soon as you get up, to support your adrenals. :)



I read about adrenal fatigue here and was curious. I've done a quick literature review and the evidence is that it does not exist in the way it has been described here. I even spoke to a neurologist about it. It isn't a medical condition. The physiology doesn't add up. Adrenal insufficiency exists due to impairments of the pituitary or adrenal glands but the symptoms are very different. Taking suplimenta can even damage the adrenal glands. Also the saliva tests are not good or diagnostic measures. Please see a medical professional rather than self medicate.

There is a good summary here


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Oh, really? Tell that to my Hertoghe doctor that diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue!


OK, so you haven't yet cottoned on to the fact that 'adrenal fatigue' and 'adrenal insufficiency' are the same thing!

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Hi jc72,

Have a read of the great info on, they explain it all really well :). What ever you do, you must have testing done to see how your adrenals are functioning, via a 24 hour cortisol saliva test, and then proceed based on results. Happy adrenals are critical for thyroid function and thyroid hormone reception.

Good luck and take care

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